While an increasing number of organizations and individuals are popping up to aid those with disabilities in obtaining low-cost assistive devices, there really can never be too many, as approximately one billion people across the globe live with some type of disability, making up the world’s largest minority population. And, of those one billion people, 80% live in developing nations, according to the World Health Organization. To contribute to the growing effort to better enable those with disabilities, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is hosting the ‘Enable Makeathon‘, a nine-challenge series to create assistive devices to aid people with disabilities in rural areas.
The event, which is not to be conflated with e-NABLE, is a 60-day program being put on by the ICRC, in which engineers, designers, and everyone else are invited to find hardware (and software) solutions to nine different challenges that range from “performing activities of daily living” and daily mobility to accessing education and obtaining employment. To address these challenges, the Makeathon has two tracks, online, for the global community, and on-site, taking place in Bengaluru, India.
Starting in November and ending in January, 2016, teams will be required to submit regular project updates as they compete to develop the best solutions to the challenges facing those with disabilities. After unveiling them to the world on Demo Day January 23, the winning teams will see their prototype devices mass produced, as they take home cash prizes of $25k, $15k, and $10k, for first through third place.
Applications are due by October 31, 2015, so you’ve still got time to put together a team. Or, if you’re already part of a business or company, you’re encouraged to participate, as well. Then, you’ve got just 60 days to develop an assistive device that will award you a lump sum and, more importantly, the knowledge of knowing that your hard work and design skills could help millions of people worldwide.